Mama Rouge, however, which just opened two months ago, definitely excites me. It just opened two months ago on the Waterfront Harbour, replacing Bangkok Joe. The owners are also the previous owners of Bangkok Joe, which can only mean a good thing. Mama Rouge features a fusion of Southeast Asian and French cuisine, so think bahn mi's inside croissant buns and curry mussels served with a fresh baguette. Yeah, that sounds good.
|Photo from Washingtoncitypaper.com because I am a bad blogger and forgot to take one...|
After making some reservations with OpenTable, a couple of friends and I went to celebrate the end of finals and the beginning of our holiday seasons.
As I glanced over the menu and tried to choose a reasonable amount of food to order, I made a few quick observations:
1. There are lots of options - from chicken to bahn mi to noodle to barbeque-esque dishes, there are a lot of options for whatever you're in the mood for. And the good thing about this range is...
2. There is pricing to fit every budget - as a graduate student, and also a recent college student, finding a good meal for cheap in DC can be difficult. Thankfully, Mama Rouge has items ranging from $10-$30, with some of the cheaper menu items being their bahn mi's and noodle dishes. This makes it easy to find some unique dishes without racking up a huge bill! Definitely a plus in my book.
Upon finally deciding on some items, we decided to start with some Chicken Lettuce Wraps and the Pork Belly Bao Buns. Unfortunately, I seem to have deleted some of the pictures I took, but I was definitely impressed with both of them. The chicken lettuce wraps were perhaps a little bit less unique than some of the other dishes, but it was a light dish to start our meals with. The pork belly buns were as usual, one of my favorites. Anything with pork belly is a win for me, and this take on a Chinese classic.
For my entree, I ordered the Bean thread noodles, which came with chicken, cilantro, basil, and a delicious sauce with a heavy dose of chiles. It was definitely a spicy dish, but with me, the spicier it is, the better! This is also one of those dishes that doesn't look too spectacular, but the blend of flavors is delicious.
Another dish my friend ordered with the Spicy herb chicken, which was a delicious mix of chicken, chimichurri, sriracha, and the most tender chicken I've had in awhile.
I'm already eyeing this dish for the next time I go....
Finally for dessert, I finished off with some Creme Brule, which was absolutely amazing. It was light, creamy, while still being decadent. It was the perfect end to my meal!
The only dish we were slightly unsatisfied with was my friend's Crepe Suzette. Although the flavors alone were delicious, the Suzette sauce seemed to overwhelm the texture and flavor of the crepe, making the crepe seem like it was drowning in the sauce. The amount of sauce probably could have been halved while still remaining true to the Crepe Suzette recipe, so we wouldn't order that again.
All in all, I (and my friends) were very impressed with the experience. Although Mama Rouge is fairly new, the food was good and unique, with enough options for any mood, and the concept is done well for the most part. Southeastern cuisine already blends many flavors, but the addition of French techniques is something I don't see very often here in DC.
Would I go back? Absolutely. I'm going to have to revisit this again and try some more menu items to officially declare it in my top list of restaurants, but it has a solid menu. Unfortunately, due to my gluten sensitivities, I won't be able to try out their croissant bahn mi's, which has received a lot of praise. However, the plethora of rice-noodle and rice based dishes means I can still try a lot of items on the menu! I imagine that with some more tweaking and a few months extra time, this place can become truly spectacular!
For more information, check out the Mama Rouge website.
To make reservations, try out OpenTable.
(They're also great to manage all your other reservations!)
3000 K Street Northwest,
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: (202) 333-4422
Have any of you tried Mama Rouge? What do you think?